The end came sooner than expected for St. Louis Blues’ head coach Ken Hitchcock.

The Blues have dismissed head coach Ken Hitchcock and named Mike Yeo his immediate replacement, general manager Doug Armstrong announced Wednesday.

When the former Minnesota Wild head coach was hired as associate coach last summer, Armstrong initially said Yeo would succeed Hitchcock as Blues bench boss after this season and “for three years after that.”

But, the Blues have been on the schneid recently, losing five of six with 28 goals against in the defeats to sink their team save percentage to a NHL low .887 and hasten Hitchcock’s departure.

The firing, then, comes as a bit of a surprise, given that Hitchcock has taken the Blues to the post-season five straight times, including the deepest run last year (a 4-2 Western Conference final loss to San Jose) since 2000-01, when they also lost in the conference final (to Colorado).

At the time of his firing, Hitchcock was fourth all-time in wins, with 781, one behind the late Al Arbour.